by Eric Hanson
ENGADIN, SWITZERLAND – Only once has an American skier won the overall World Cup; that was Vermont’s Bill Koch in 1982. Alaska’s Kikkan Randall won several overall sprint World Cup titles. The overall World Cup combines classic and skate races in both the sprint and distance formats. Diggins is most known for pairing up with Randall to win the team sprint gold medal in South Korea in 2018.
She started this season more slowly, finishing 15th overall in Ruka, Finland back in late November. She made her move at the Tour de Ski in January, racing eight races over 11 days in Switzerland and Italy, where she had two wins, one second, and three third-place finishes. Norway opted out of racing the tour along with a few other weekends because of COVID and traveling concerns, while Sweden opted out of a few World Cup weekends but was at the tour. Therese Johaug (Norway) wins most of the distance races, but she’s not a sprinter
A week after Norway returned to the circuit, Diggins showed she meant business, winning the 10k skate ahead of Johaug; this was Johaug’s first defeat in a distance race since 2016. Although Diggins did not win any more races in the late season, she consistently placed in the top five. She ended the season winning the distance title and placing fourth in the sprint overall. Russian Yulia Stupak was second overall, followed by Sweden’s Ebba Andersson in third. U.S. Skier Rosie Brennan (Alaska) finished fourth overall, an amazing result for any U.S. skier. Diggins, a native of Afton, Minn., now lives in southern Vermont and trains with the Stratton Mountain School Team 2 (SMS T2).